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Coppa Italia • Milan 2, Perugia 0: Better than Chocolate


I am so happy, I’m finding it hard to put into words just how amazing this match was for me. In my home, my family know that my priorities are family, football, and then chocolate (with family just barely nudging out football.) There was a time that my children thought I loved chocolate more than anything in the world, but they’re old enough now to know that I would take good football over the most luscious, divine, and perfect chocolate. And today’s match was better than chocolate in every sense.

Look at all of those smiles

First of all, obviously, we absolutely outplayed Perugia, who hail from the chocolate capital of Italy. Credit to them for playing, they could have just sat back and defended, but they played honorably and fought for their place in the competition. Even their captain, former Juventus player Lanzafame, was honorable when he was sent off in the 64th for a second yellow, leaving his team on ten men.

I can’t quite say the same for Milan after Perugia were down to 10 men, as they took their foot off of the gas pedal a bit. Which is likely down to the subs, as a partially fit Menez came on for the fantastic Honda in the 70th, Poli replaced Bonaventura in the 75th, and Cerci replaced Adriano in the 81st. But whether or not it was the personnel changes, fatigue, or a lapse in concentration, we did not play as well after the sending off.

Warrior.

But that is the only real negative from this game. How refreshing is that to be able to say? Even better than dark chocolate with almonds. But also better than chocolate were the first 64 minutes of the match. The level of play was so much better than we have seen the past three years, I thought I’d died and gone to chocolate football heaven. (Chocolate football heaven is an amazing place where everything is made of chocolate and/or related to football, and there are never any terrible match streams to deal with, ever.) It was truly the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in such a long time, I am still smiling.

First, the goals. Honda opened it up in the 10th minute with a fantastic goal and an assist by Antonelli. 1-0 Milan. Honda was incredible. Who knew that he could play at the trequartista position so well, other than every manager he ever played for before he came to Milan? And just to put an exclamation mark on it, he also assisted Luiz Adriano’s first Milan goal in the 28th. 2-0 Milan. That goal had an interesting effect on Adriano, because it seemed like he wanted to take out Perugia’s keeper, Rosati, after that, with Rosati needing treatment twice for Adriano’s overzealousness. Adriano was also the reason that Bacca had a spectacular goal called off in the 39th, as the ref judged him to be blocking Rosati’s view. And this after it was Bacca’s backheel that started the play for Adriano’s goal. Oh, well, partnerships take time to build. I actually thought that I saw improvement with their pairing, too.

OMG indeed

But most exciting for me was the back four of De Sciglio, Ely, Romagnoli, and Antonelli. With an average age of 22.75 years old, they were simply amazing. All of them. And even if our youngest new defenders weren't tested as much as our old vagabond center backs have been, they were fantastic when called upon. I think Lopez may have actually been able to get some nap time in.  But that was because Mihajlovic has successfully implemented his ideas and tactics with this squad. He has said from the beginning that the defensive phase begins in attack, and this team carried that out for him tonight. They focused on possession – not just any possession, attacking possession. It was almost if their most precious possessions in all of the world were in the goal, and all of them, collectively would protect them by attacking the threat, not just sitting back and waiting to be attacked. It’s such a basic concept, and yet the last three managers were unable to effectively communicate this to the players we had.

Better than we dreamed

Of course, Mihajlovic has the best squad we’ve had in three years, too. Skills and talent help a lot in executing ideas. But he has also instilled in them the proper mentality, and my heart is filled with joy beneath the Milan crest on my jersey tonight. Sure, we played a newly promoted Serie B team, and they went down to ten men with 25 minutes left. But I saw eleven warriors on the pitch, warriors who were fighting for the same cause. And for the first time in three years, they made me believe that they would do anything to win. For me. For all of the fans in the stadium, and for all of the fans in the world. But mostly for the Milan shirt. Not for themselves, but for the shirt. And this attitude, the beautiful football that they’ve brought with it, and the convincing win where the result was never in question (even at their worst moment)… all of those things are better than chocolate every day of the year.


This post was inspired by the most beautiful football I’ve seen in the Milan shirt in years


Our next match is
Serie A Round 1
Fiorentina vs. Milan
Sunday August 23 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)